Monday, January 25, 2010

Eye Exam Update

Most Americans have grown up knowing the importance of regular visits to the family doctor for routine check-ups to protect and maintain our physical well being. But when it comes to regular eye exams, our thought is that if we don't have a problem, we don't need to see and "eye doctor". Even though most people may have good vision, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends an eye disease screening at age 40, and that adults 65 years and older have an eye exam every one or two years.

The only sure way to know if you have any eye disease such as glaucoma, macular degeneration or cataracts, is with a complete eye examination. Some eye diseases have no noticeable symptoms until damage has already occurred. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to preventing loss of vision, particularly in glaucoma, where the pressure in the eye builds up and, if left untreated, damages the optic nerve. Your ophthalmologist can determine if you have any eye disease after performing a comprehensive evaluation, including dilation and perhaps other diagnostic tests.

Patients with a family history of any eye disease are strongly urged to see an eye doctor to discuss this and have a baseline exam with regular follow-up exams. Eye diseases that can be hereditary include glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosis and a diabetic retinopathy.

Fortunately, many schools systems require a vision screening for children beginning kindergarten and again when entering middle school. These screenings provide the opportunity for the ophthalmologist to find a possible eye muscle imbalance that can result in amblyopia or an undetected refractive error. Children who may have a refractive problem will not always realize that their vision is blurred because this is the way they world has always been to them. Poor vision is often a factor in poor performance in the school setting. Once a child has been diagnosed with an eye condition, it is necessary for them to be seen on a yearly basis for re-evaluation since refractive errors change frequently as the child grows.

80% of outside stimuli is through the visual system - see what you've been missing. If it has been a while since you last saw your eye doctor, why not make an appointment today?

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